Local state of disaster continuation

The Lufkin City Council on Thursday extended the declaration of a local state of disaster due to the public health emergency of COVID-19, coronavirus until rescinded by the city.

The council first issued this declaration on March 20 to continue through Friday. It will now require the city council to meet again to end the declaration and allow them to meet in an emergency session if the threat is believed to be ended, city manager Keith Wright said.

“It could be over in two days and (the city council) could call a meeting and terminate the declaration and we would be done,” Wright said. “Or it could be a week from now or a month from now. It depends on what happens.

“It is indefinite until the conditions change that this is no longer warranted.”

The declaration enacts three regulations while it's active:

• Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited.

• Dine-in services at restaurants are prohibited; restaurants and food services must use take-out, delivery, drive-in or drive-thru services.

• Bars, lounges, taverns, private clubs, gyms, health studios, theaters and commercial amusement facilities are to be closed.

The declaration carries a fine up to $1,000 or confinement in jail for a term that does not exceed 180 days for violations.

Angelina County had one confirmed case of COVID-19, coronavirus that was announced by city, county and Angelina County & Cities Health Department officials on Wednesday.

City officials have asked that Lufkin residents continue to limit their travel and remain at home. The city does not wish to enact a stay-at-home ordinance, and hopes the public will continue to participate in advised safety practices.

“What we’re pleading with the public to do is to pay attention,” Lufkin Mayor Bob Brown said. “Make certain that you stay as close to and abide by the rules as much as possible. Don’t make any leisure trips just to be out. Just do your business and stay home without us mandating that you do that.”

Jess Huff's email address is jess.huff@lufkindailynews.com.

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